What is Live Resin?

Posted by Smoke Cartel on

Live resin is a very specific type of cannabis concentrate that’s considered to be one of the highest quality types of dabs and is a favorite among concentrate connoisseurs.

It's made from freshly harvested cannabis plants that are then immediately frozen to preserve its delicate terpene profile. The drying and curing process is entirely skipped, as the flash-freezing method preserves the best compounds of the plant and helps retain the full flavor of freshly harvested flowers and sugar leaves.

The preserved terpenes, also known as essential oils, are what makes the live resin concentrate so rich in aroma and flavor. These terpenes are found in trichomes, which are present on basically every surface of a mature, freshly harvested cannabis flower and its foliage.

When cannabis flowers are subjected to drying and curing, much of these essential oils are lost because the plant wicks itself of moisture and chlorophyll. This isn’t the case with live resin concentrates.

Live resin captures the beautiful essence, aroma, and flavor of a live, mature cannabis plant. This delicate process utilizes only fresh buds and sugar leaves, completely ignoring large leaves and stems. This is also what makes live resin stand out when compared to most other concentrates, and one of the reasons why it’s become a favorite among concentrate enthusiasts in recent years.

Who Invented Live Resin?

A small group of cannabis growers and entrepreneurs from Colorado have pioneered the process of making live resin in the period from 2010-2013. Led by cannabis cultivator William “Kind Bill” Fenger, and EmoTek Labs founder and cannabis entrepreneur, Jason “Giddy Up” Emo, this group managed to engineer the highly delicate process of flash-freezing and extracting the purest components of mature cannabis plants.

Before live resin was born, William Fenger was obsessed with the idea of creating the ultimate plant extract. He used to flash-freeze his plants and then made butane hash oil (BHO) from them. While satisfied with flavor, aromas, and the richness of the extract, he was also very aware that the process was dangerous, yielded small quantities and the end product wasn’t aesthetically appealing. He soon found the answer to his problem, when he was hired as a consultant at Jason Emo’s production facility in Colorado Springs.

Jason installed a closed-loop extraction device that was originally designed for commercial manufacturers who wanted to make high-quality wax and shatter. Seeing the device in action, Fenger was sure that this was the technology he needed to turn his dream into reality.

After a 24 hour extraction marathon, the first successful batch of live resin was born and slowly became the most desirable form of cannabis concentrate.

How is Live Resin Made?

The overall process for producing live resin is similar to how other extracts are made with a few key differences.

The mature cannabis flowers and sugar leaves are harvested and then immediately frozen. This is typically done by either placing them in a cooler with dry ice or by slowly dipping them into a cold cylinder filled with liquid nitrogen. The ideal is to reach a steady temperature of -40 degrees Fahrenheit/Celsius.

After the plant material has been frozen, it’s time to chill the solvent. When making live resin, the solvent used is typically liquefied petroleum gas such as butane or propane. Ethanol or carbon dioxide (CO2) can also be used but are not as popular of an option for this specific type of concentrate. The solvent is cooled down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit/Celsius.

It is then passed over the plant material in order to create the solution. Once the solution has been made, a small amount of heat is applied to vaporize the solvent. The solvent tank is then chilled to re-condense the vapors.

Another key difference between making live resin and other types of extracts are the low temperatures used in the vacuum purge. The vacuum oven is set to just 65 - 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 - 24 degrees Celsius) in order to retain and keep as much essential oils as possible and prevent them from evaporating completely.

The end result of this delicate process is malleable, runny, fluid type of concentrate chock full of aroma and flavor known as live resin.

What’s the Difference Between Live Resin and Other Types of Dabs?

The key difference between live resin and other concentrates is in the flash-freezing of freshly harvested plant materials. Concentrates like rosin, shatter, and wax are usually made from dried and cured plant materials that sometimes also include long leaves and stems, unlike live resin that’s made exclusively with the freshest flowers and sugar leaves.

This rigorous material selection and process allows live resin to be far more richer in aroma and flavor than other types of dabs. The essential oils are preserved and the very essence of the mature cannabis plant is captured within the live resin extract. It also has a smoother and more malleable, fluid form and is richer in color. There’s also live resin in shatter form, but that one is extremely hard to come by as the extraction process and the liquidity of terpenes doesn’t allow the concentrate to take on a hard, rigid quality.

A great example of live resin derived from a CBD blend is the Cultivaid Hemp Nectar CBD.

How Do I Store Live Resin? 

Ideally, you’ll want to store this beautiful concentrate in an airtight and lightproof container that’s placed in a refrigerator. Glass and silicone storage containers are your best bet, and silicone has one caveat that makes it stand out-- it’s easier to scrape the concentrate from it.

How Do I Dab?

Consuming live resin is usually done by dabbing, vaping with a nectar collector or simply topping off your bowl or joint with a bit of concentrate.

Whichever method of consumption you prefer, you’ll find that live resin is an extraordinary and high class type of cannabis concentrate. It is the most sought-after extract by concentrate veterans and connoisseurs and you have to try to understand why. 


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